Don't Bug Me!

by Pam Zollman

Published by Holiday House

134 pages, 2001

Age Level: 8 - 12 years 


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Pests, Pests Everywhere

Reviewed by Lynne Remick

 

Bugs may be... well... gross, and extremely icky, but Pam Zollman's first novel, Don't Bug Me isn't the least bit of either. In fact, it's a fun, fascinating and highly recommended read. If your mid-graders have fallen off the reading bandwagon, this book may just be the one to get them back on.

Screams from the girls' bathroom echoed down the hall. I'd been on my way back to class after lunch, but those screams made me rush back the way I'd come.

Only two things make us girls scream like that.

Boys -- or bugs!

Just as I reached the bathroom door, Charlie Bettencourt bumped into me. The prime suspect at the scene of the screams, Charlie could never hide his guilt. If it weren't for his cute smile, he wouldn't get away with anything.

"What did you do now?" I asked.

Megan Hollander has a problem with bugs. And with boys.

With bugs, it's a shortage. Megan needs bugs -- 25 different species to be exact -- for her current science project. Every time her collection nears its completion, she finds her bugs are missing! As it turns out, her little brother, Alexander, is sneaking into her room, stealing her dead bugs and burying their lifeless bodies in the backyard! What's worse, her parents won't do a thing to stop the little pest.

Finding the bugs was tough for Megan, who doesn't like bugs. Now, replacing them is proving even tougher. With every kid in the sixth grade searching for bugs, there are just none to be found anywhere: even in the school cafeteria!

Which leads to Megan's second problem. She could do without boys. It's Alexander's fault she's in jeopardy of failing her science project. And it's troublemaker Charlie Bettencourt's fault that everyone in the entire school knows about it. His note on the blackboard made sure of that:

Beggin' Megan is begging for bugs! Please donate your extra bugs. Sponsored by the Society for the Insect-Catching Impaired.

This outstanding, 134-page book is geared to delight readers 8 to 12, but proves to be an amusing read for any age. It certainly will hold a mid-grade audience's attention captive with its cool and unusual bug theme, fascinating bug facts, sixth grade growing pains and a budding school-age crush. | August 2001

 

An avid reader, established reviewer and writer of poetry, non-fiction, fiction, historical romance and children's books, Lynne Remick can always be found with a book in her hand. She lives in New York with her fiancé Michael, her son Kevin, her Schipperke Dante, a feral cat named Sahara and a spoiled hedgehog named Nike. There, in a little house once owned by her great grandparents, she reads, writes stories, book reviews, writing columns and poetry.